Whilst we look to the skies for signs of life and alien language, last week it was a foreign language familiar to us but alien to most outside of Ireland that made its way onto twittersphere via the unusual outer regions of outer space.
Last Monday the twitter world went temporarily as gaeilge as a Canadian astronaut aboard the International space station introduced some “cupla focal” to the public twittersphere, bringing our native irish language to an internationall audience.
The astronaut, cmdr Chris Hadfield, whose daughter currently studies psychology at Trinity college in Dublin, has been delighting his half a million twitter fans with his distinctive photos of various countries and cities taken from his position aboard the international space station orbiting earth.
On Monday night, whilst displaying his latest photo from space, an image of the Irish capital, he sent the following message: “Tá Éire fiorálainn! Land of green hills and dark beer. With capital Dublin glowing in the Irish night”. This led to more than a thousand re-tweets within half an hour from surprised and ecstatic gaelic speakers from here in Ireland who were delighted to have the native language acknowledged from such lofty heights.
Moments later, he tweeted again for the benefits of his many irish fans with some more Irish, thanking people for their compliments about his cupla focal: Wow, I can feel the warmth of the Irish all the way up here – go raibh maith agaibh! I’ll do my best to photo more cities as clouds clear.
Whilst Mr Hadfield continues to look over us and capture the beauty of the many international cities of earth from his position above us in space, his humble tweets referencing our language has gained a new group of Irish fans and supporters thrilled by his images and comments. When he comes down to earth and to Ireland to visit his daughter he has many new fans in Ireland keen to offer him cead mile failte. For we, here in Ireland, are honored and amazed that our humble native language has been brought into international public consciousness from the most unlikeliest of places, the depths of outer space.